Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Defense Style Questionnaire

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_22-1




Defense styles are empirically validated clusters of psychological defense mechanisms, measured with the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ). The DSQ is a paper-pen, self-report questionnaire, with two versions containing either 88 or 40 items. Each item is a statement that the subject scores according to the degree of agreement to its content on a Likert-type interval scale, with scores ranging from one (total disagreement) to nine (full agreement).


The concept of character defenses hails from the early days of psychoanalysis; according to Anna Freud, they form “the ways and means by which the ego wards off displeasure and anxiety, and exercises control over impulsive behavior, affects and instinctive urges” (Freud 2011). Although defenses have been defined and differentiated for some time, their unconscious nature made their empirical measurement difficult. To this end, the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ) was developed to assess defense styles...


Personality Disorder Primitive Idealization Defense Style Individual Defense Immature Defense 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.2nd Department of PsychiatryAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

Section editors and affiliations

  • Brendan Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Wichita State UniversityWichitaUSA